Sunday, January 31, 2010

read a good poem: the diner

11am at joseph leonard. nyc.

The Diner, by Richard Jones

The short-order cook and the dishwasher
argue the relative merits
of Rilke’s Elegies
against Eliot’s Four Quartets,
but the delivery man who brings eggs
suggests they have forgotten Les fleurs
du mal and Baudelaire. The waitress
carrying three plates and a coffeepot
can’t decide whom she loves more—
Rimbaud or Verlaine,
William Blake or William Wordsworth.
She refills the rabbi’s cup
(he’s reading Rumi),
asks what he thinks of Arthur Waley.
In the booth behind them, a fat woman
feeds a small white poodle in her lap,
with whom she shares her spoon.
“It’s Rexroth’s translations of the Japanese,”
she says, “that one can’t live without:
May those who are born after me
Never travel such roads of love.
The revolving door proffers
a stranger in a long black coat,
lost in the madhouse poems of John Clare.
As he waits to be seated,
the woman who owns the place
hands him a menu
in which he finds several handwritten poems
by Hafiz, Gibran, and Rabindranath Tagore.
The lunch hour’s crowded—
the owner wonders
if the stranger might share
my table. As he sits,
I put a finger to my lips,
and with my eyes ask him
to listen with me
to the young boy and the young girl
two tables away
taking turns reading aloud
the love poems of Pablo Neruda.

(via the poetry foundation)

photo © anita aguilar

Friday, January 29, 2010


curry. (beef.)
bayard street, nyc.
photo © anita aguilar

Take this curry, this fine-tuned

balance of humors, coconut liquor thinned
by broth, sour pulp of tamarind

cut through by salt, set off by fragrant
galangal, ginger, basil, cilantro, mint,

the warp and woof of texture, aubergines
that barely hold their shape, snap beans

heaped on jasmine, basmati rice
—it’s a lie, all of it—pretext—artifice

—ornament—sugar-coating—for . . .


read the full poem by craig arnold on slate...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

testing testing, the sigma 50mm on the CT set

ah, i remember this shoot day well. i'd just purchased the sigma 50mm and brought it to the set for the first time. these photos are vastly different from the others-- new lens in a new space (a loft in tribeca). i didn't know how to properly adjust for the light there, but still, i think these tinty pics are ok.

molly (in green) and renee.
i love molly...
we met for the first time on the shoot, and we've run into each other a bunch of times in the city.
she is the lead singer of rooftops. i'm hoping to catch their next show...

molly, renee, lauren, and felicia.

lauren. miss lauren. i love her, too.

lauren and molly. different light here--it was night time by the time we shot this.
we set up spots to create an indoor "party" scene.

lauren and molly. this was their reaction when i told them i sort of stalked scott speedman. once.
(i just followed him for a few blocks in the street. ha.

mike. guess what? love him!

random, mickey mouse/star wars doodad on someone's desk at the office. but it was the first shot i took that really showed off the nice "blur" that you can get with the 50mm.

more chaos theory stills here, and the "peaches and herb" episode.

all photos © anita aguilar for phoebeworks productions/chaos theory


wow. standing room only at dr. eric sanderson's lecture/book signing at the dwr store in soho.
nice event, but essentially the same presentation as the TED talk that i linked to last week.

all photos © anita aguilar

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

pretty city: seeing yellow and green

houston/lafayette streets, nyc.
photo © anita aguilar

night in the city: waiting for a bite

lafayette street, nyc.
photo © anita aguilar

midtown's bright spot: la fonda del sol

am i the only new yorker who failed to notice that the metlife building is shaped like a lozenge?

it's been in my sights every day for at least the last two years, as the lite-brite background to grand central terminal and the helmsley building, but...i haven't really looked at it. isn't that though what you get when you plop something (even something so stocky and glaring) behind a city's major transportation hub? if you're walking anywhere near there, you'd better not be staring up while you do it.

this might also be the peril of situating a restaurant, even a very fine one, in the same spot. so convenient, yet so easy to overlook? la fonda del sol is a shiny modern spanish marvel tucked under the huge concrete overhang on the west side of the metlife building, facing vanderbilt avenue and 44th-45th streets. is anyone ever really strolling on vanderbilt avenue? hustling to and from the station i imagine folks, if they are looking around at all, peer through the restaurant's etched glass, admire the bold spanish reds and the striking floor squares of black and white and think, i should go there sometime... (mañana...)

and it would be a pity if mañana never came because the "inn of the sun," while hardly a neighborhood joint (for those of us who call this neighborhood home) and perhaps too proper and pricey for a mere pit-stop, spins traditional spanish ingredients and flavors (garbanzos, chorizo, fresh fish, citrus and saffron) into special little events.

if you're in deal-hunter mode (like me and my friends), there's a pretty good one to be had during restaurant week (now through feb 5, and probably again later in the year). but beware the $11 glass of sangria.

(the 50mm experiment continues)

chickpeas and chorizo soup. a smoky, spicy start...

skate wing a la plancha, with pickled peppers, olives, and saffron orange sauce.
the bits of orange rind are startling. i loved the briny jalapenos.

does this look like a chocolate dessert? it's red-wine braised beef cheek, with pomegranate and celery root. the deeper, richer iberian cousin of the turkey and cranberries, if you will. my favorite part? a downy puree, which is impossible to see in this photo, but according to our waitress is made of celery root and chick peas.

roasted cod romesco. hearty black olive oil.
but i think the shaved zucchini is the star here, with nice summery basil scattered about.

poached pear with turron ice cream. bright citrus rouses this sweet, sophisticated number.

and the best bread pudding (pudin de pan!) in town. maybe the world. with caramelized bananas and spiced whipped cream.

all photos © anita aguilar

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

piym: aussie aussie aussie, oi oi OY

party in your mouth goes international this week, with the celebration of australia day.

have you ever had lamingtons? if you like cake and chocolate and coconut, come on over. you're in for a treat.


there's been serious tennis happening down under, and i regret waiting this long to bring it up because as of today my favorite player is out, retiring after trailing 2 sets and a few games, with a knee injury. my "maximum" favorite writer called this--not the gimpy knee part, but the murray win, coming out of that quarter.

who do i root for now?

jo-wilfried tsonga, photographed by ryan pierse/getty images via the nytimes photo replay, jan 25.

after the bad knees news, i was on the verge of tuning out the rest of the tournament but the other quarterfinal matchups are actually kind of irresistible...fed v. davydenko, djokovic v. tsonga. so i'm in for at least the next day or two.

if you need it, here's the tv schedule for the rest of the tournament.

if you've been watching from the start and are growing weary of the commentators and their talktalktalk, read stock truths. you may find yourself better engaged during the broadcast and satisfied in a different (smarter) way when it's over.

Monday, January 25, 2010

objets d'art...

a big welcome to the blogosphere to my very talented sister, an artist and jewelry maker, who is finally showcasing her beautiful work at

i have probably been the biggest beneficiary, as her passion and skill for jewelry-making have grown. for the last several years, for any occasion, she has shared her gift with me--literally. i'm always overwhelmed, not just because each piece is beautiful, but because "she" is in every one: her taste and sensibility--bold, yet refined and impeccable--balanced with thoughtfulness of what i would like. and each reflects the determination that she applies to learning and perfecting the craft.

i hope you'll visit her new blog. i'll be posting updates, of course, and i'll keep a link to it on the side bar, along with all the other folks that continue to inspire me.


i've undertaken a little photo-experimenting with the pieces she's made for me. she liked a couple of them, so you'll find them at sheena925.
but here are outtakes:

silver bracelet made by sheena. all photos © anita aguilar


back when we were in high school, my cousin jojo created a collage for me, which still hangs in my bedroom at my parents' house, and which i've used for the last few years as my online "identity." it is so much nicer and more artful than any photo i would have picked.

me, in the 80s (ha). by jojo aguilar.

but i came home a couple of weeks ago to a wonderful surprise--a new painting (which is now my profile picture everywhere online). i hope it's not horribly vain and wrong of me to love this as much as a i do. (forgive me, if so.) but as i told him, that's me now, but on my best day, and exactly how i'd want to portray myself to others. big thank you hug to him for the new "me."

painting by jojo aguilar

he's another amazing talent in my family. visit his blog to see more of his work (also perma-linked on the sidebar). funny, he's got his resume up there as a post, so you can see the long list of animation projects to his credit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

pretty city: stumptown

pretty city: meet gary

i've been reading lately about the merits of a 50mm lens--i have a good one, but really haven't explored its use outside of...well, i haven't used it outside. i rely on my tamron zoom when i'm outdoors. i like that it allows me to get up-close to something or someone (somewhat) unobtrusively (it's sort of long, and hard to miss). but the 50mm is a lens that was standard back in the day. (henri cartier-bresson? he used a 50mm on a small format camera. clearly the thing works). so this is what i'll be taking out with me for the next several weeks. we'll see what i can learn.

it's a whole different world with the 50 mm--you have to really move around and do a lot of recomposing to get a shot. but i kinda like it.

today, i hit the madison square park area (on my way to home depot). if you stand on the northwest corner of the park, you'll have one of the best views of the empire state building. i've yet to come up with a better than ordinary shot of that landmark, but i wanted to give it a try today.

i saw this instead. a rad bike. just waiting for me to take its picture.

was this a piece of art?

detail shot, of the wheel...this is for my friend, nicholas. crazy? crazy generous, crazy cute, girl crazy...which is part of why we all love him.

tried to get the flatiron in there somehow. i took many from this angle.

and then finally the bike's owner popped up and asked if he could get in the photo.
meet gary...photogenic gary. i thanked him for his modeling...

and that encounter, my friends, made my day.
more with the 50 mm to come.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

iiiiii love new yoooooork

do you remember this i love new york jingle? (i can't get it out of my head tonight after reading about the mannahatta project.) it was written by steve karmen, as part of the 1977 marketing campaign developed by the wells rich greene agency. the agency also hired milton glaser to produce the iconic i "heart" new york logo.

if you are interested in the history and future of cities, have a look at this TED video. the mannahatta project is the result of a decade-long ecological study of new york city undertaken by dr. eric sanderson of the wildlife conservation society. using spatial analysis techniques and mapping software, he was able to re-imagine--recreate--what new york city looked like in 1609...and offer an idea (ideal) for what it could look like about 50 years from now (oh, would that we could afford so many green roofs).

while this is nyc-centric, it's a fascinating model for others.

if you go to the mannahatta project site, there's neat "explore" tool that allows you to punch in an address to see what a particular block looked like, what wildlife likely thrived there. this is what my murray hill block looked like:

lush life.

ok. lots of mice and squirrels--not surprising or exotic. but a bobcat. now we're talking.

cherry and summer grapes...

murray hill/rolling hills.


abbott miller of pentagram designed the book (and last year's exhibit at the museum of the city of new york). there's a book-signing and lecture with dr. sanderson at dwr in soho next wednesday, jan 27, from 7pm-9pm.

i'll be there.
if you plan to attend, say hello.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

CT: monica dearest

M & M

bitter, angry chocolate? her name is monica.
nut? michelle.

i love them both, but especially in this episode.

hope this makes your back-to-work-tuesday a little brighter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

piym: oh my cherry pie

i confess--i made this cherry pie.
i am guessing that if jess made it, it would be a little less brown around the edges.

but the truth in advertising is, from crust to fruit filling, it's all made lovingly from scratch.
and at a dinner party/taste test it received high marks. not bad for a first pass.
sweet, even.

check out jess in this week's episode, she's got fun facts and a few important tips for preparing the pastry crust...


all photos © anita aguilar for phoebeworks/piym

Sunday, January 17, 2010

see a fine picture: natalie wood

uncredited photo of natalie wood (i'm guessing circa 1958?) via doctor macro.

the eyes.
the short hair.
the stripes.
simple. and stunning.

see fine pictures: playing their part

via and the ap...

before things got hot and heavy (officially) down at the aussie open, roger federer helped to organize and host "hit for haiti," and recruited rafael nadal, novak djokovic, andy roddick, lleyton hewitt, sam stosur, kim clijsters and serena williams to participate. the ap report and the photos suggest a fun, spirited time was had by all (plenty more pics for you superfans at yahoo! sports).

the event raised more than $185,00 for the haitian relief effort, with organizers expecting that amount to increase.

cheers to everyone who helped pull it all together at the last minute.

fed, chair.
photo by paul crock/getty images via
yahoo! sports

best seats in the house.
ap photo via
yahoo! sports

rafa with his mj finger wraps.
photo by paul crock/getty images via yahoo! sports

rafa getting a little treatment from kim.
photo by paul crock/getty images, via
yahoo! sports

djoko next?
AP photo of djokovic, nadal, clijsters via
yahoo! sports

three on three.
photo by mark dadswell/getty images via
yahoo! sports

rafa in the hot seat.
photo by mark dadswell/getty images via
yahoo! sports

a very nice two-step.
photo of roddick and rafa by mark dadswell/getty images via yahoo! sports